As your child grows up, their permanent teeth start to come in and replace their baby teeth. These are exciting times for you and your child as their smile changes and grows. But if you noticed discoloration, you may be wondering about their oral health. Is it okay for kids’ teeth to be yellow?
There’s good news! It’s common for children’s adult teeth to have a yellowish cast at first. This article aims to help you understand why your child’s teeth are yellow so you can avoid unnecessary worry and support your child’s oral hygiene.
What Causes Teeth to Turn Yellow?
Your child’s teeth may be turning yellow for several different reasons. Here are some possibilities to consider:
- Thin enamel: Tooth dentin, which is yellowish in color, exists below the enamel — the hard, white outer layer of the tooth. If your child has thin enamel, the yellowish dentin beneath can become more visible, causing their teeth to look yellow. Thin enamel can be a result of poor hygiene or family genetics.
- Staining from food and drinks: Many foods and beverages can stain teeth’s enamel, including soda, coffee, tea, lemon, tomato sauce and dark-colored berries. Over time, these tooth stains can build up and cause your child’s teeth to take on a yellow hue.
- Poor hygiene: Poor hygiene can contribute to yellowing teeth in children as well as adults. Your child will experience staining foods and plaque buildup that only proper oral hygiene can help prevent. Without proper hygiene, your child’s teeth may even start accumulating tartar, which can contribute to yellow teeth and more serious dental health conditions.
- Cavities: Tooth decay, or cavities, will also contribute to yellowing teeth. As teeth decay, they can take on a yellow and brownish color. Cavities are the most common dental issue that a child can experience.
Why Are My Child’s Permanent Teeth Coming in Yellow?
One of the leading causes of yellow teeth in children is that their adult teeth are coming in. It’s common for adult teeth to appear yellow when they first erupt.
Permanent teeth contain more dentin than baby teeth. Since dentin has a natural yellow appearance, your child’s teeth may look yellow and unmatched if several of their permanent teeth come in at different times. The good news is that this is an entirely normal occurrence. Adult teeth will eventually lose their yellow shade, brightening and whitening over time.
If your child’s teeth are uneven in their coloring now because their permanent teeth are erupting, just give it some time. As long as they follow good oral hygiene practices, the color should even out into a white smile again.
How to Prevent Yellow Teeth
Here’s some more good news — you can take measures to prevent yellow teeth for your child, whether their teeth are starting to yellow or still completely white. Here are some tips to prevent yellowing teeth:
- Teach and help your child with good oral hygiene: Good oral hygiene is the key to keeping your child’s teeth as white as possible. Proper hygiene practices include brushing, flossing and using mouthwash to keep your child’s teeth fresh and clean. You should help your child with their oral health care when they are first getting started. Be sure to educate them on why these practices are important and encourage them to continue caring for their teeth as they get older.
- Encourage a healthy diet: Diet plays a huge role in your child’s oral health. The foods they eat can provide nutrients and textures for strong, clean teeth, but some foods can contribute to tooth decay and discoloration. Fresh fruits, vegetables and items high in dairy and vitamin D are excellent choices for your child’s long-term oral health.
- Take your child to the dentist: Another essential aspect of preventing your child’s teeth from yellowing is taking them to a pediatric dentist. At these visits, your child’s dentist will clean their teeth with professional tools and solutions to remove plaque and ensure they are as clean as possible. They’ll also help teach your child how to practice good oral hygiene at home.
How Do I Fix My Child’s Yellow Teeth?
If your child has yellow teeth, it’s normal to want to intervene to make them white again. In some instances — for example, if the yellowing is a result of newly erupted adult teeth — you may be able to let time do its magic. New adult teeth will whiten over time, so everything should work itself out.
If your child’s yellow teeth are a result of forgetting oral hygiene practices or eating the wrong diet, then now is the time to make the proper change. You can start helping them improve their dental hygiene routine to prevent further yellowing and even reduce some of the discoloration that has already occurred. Helping them choose a healthier diet can also help avoid the harmful effects of sugary, starchy foods that contribute to cavities and tooth staining.
Should I Whiten My Kid’s Teeth?
Yellow teeth are a common occurrence in children. However, they still make some parents feel self-conscious, which often leads to them wanting to whiten their children’s teeth. If you’re wondering if you should get your child’s teeth whitened, you may want to consider the options in the previous section instead.
Children’s tooth enamel is weaker in their baby teeth than in their permanent teeth. Since the whitening process can cause enamel damage and increase tooth sensitivity, we encourage parents to avoid whitening their children’s teeth.
Feel free to contact us about whitening your child’s teeth if they are experiencing extreme staining or feelings of embarrassment about their yellow teeth. We’d love to help you determine the next proper step for your child’s dental care to help them smile with confidence.
Choose Sprout Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics
At Sprout Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we have the pediatric dental services your child needs for clean teeth and a healthy smile. We know choosing a pediatric dentist for your child is an important decision. That’s why we emphasize the best service possible, so you and your child both look forward to visiting our office every time.
To take the next step for your child’s dental health, we invite you to contact us today to request an appointment at our Portland, Oregon, pediatric dental office.
Dr. Dana grew up in Portland and went to Temple University in Philadelphia, PA for dental school. She then moved to Anchorage, AK for her residency in Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Dana takes a holistic approach to pediatric dentistry & is able to use her own parenting experience to sympathize and understand each family’s unique dynamic.